The Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) conducted a study and their experts found a correlation between poverty and high-enrollment numbers at for-profit institutions. IHEP discovered those schools profited mostly on low-income students between ages 18 and 26 and whose total household income was near or below the federal poverty level.
By contrast, the IHEP determined this demographic is under-represented at the traditional colleges and universities. Schools such as Michigan State, Georgetown, Stanford, Georgia Tech and other state-sponsored schools are the ones a typical high school student dreams of entering upon graduation.
In a recent phone interview, Terra M. Kennedy, principal at Phillip O. Berry Academy of Technology in Charlotte, told me that she would not encourage her students to attend these schools unless it was "the last resort." Kennedy is in charge of a Title 1-funded school that services predominantly African-American students who are poor.
Kennedy added that these schools have "no problem targeting the poor and those with nowhere else to turn." She considers them "too expensive and deserve business detention." That's when they're not preying on military veterans and in some cases their families. This is because military veterans -- through congressional legislation -- are now eligible to receive 100% of their education costs from government-sponsored student loans.
University of Phoenix markets itself as the gold standard. According to its Web site, the school says "Whether you're seeking an associate's, bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree, we can help you reach your academic goal while you work -- and much sooner than you might expect." That students and working professional can further their education without sacrificing other aspects of their life is a good thing.
But what's the value of these advanced degrees?
I posed this question to Dr. Donald Fennoy, area superintendent at Fulton County Schools in Atlanta. In a phone interview he said while for-profit schools' degrees can open some doors, they can only take that student so far. "These degrees are not respected by those of us that went to traditional schools," Fennoy added.
These schools spend a significant portion of their funding and marketing on ways to bring in government subsidies by luring in any student. Their sub-par education credentials hurt students at a chance for competitive pay. Graduates learn quickly their degrees are worthless.
Boston University conducted a study and found students who graduate from for-profit institution are less likely to get a job than those who graduate from a non-profit school. The study also found that where for-profit graduates do get a job, they are paid far less than their traditional counterparts.